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Circle Games – Games played mostly in sitting circles

Circle games are used when the entire group will participate in every game in one form or another, keeping the group together. Circle games are generally good to play inside when it is cold outside. These games are not usually competitive contests but games where one or two people engage the entire group in some sort of play.


  1. Snake

    Everyone forms a circle and joins hands. Somewhere in the circle the beginning and the end of the snake will be determined. These players don’t hold each others hands. The player at the beginning can step over the hands of the next players, crawl through the legs of other players, or can go under the arms of the other players on his way to the end of the snake. The rest of the snake follows him, still holding hands. If he reaches the end of the snake all the players must figure out how to untangle themselves without letting go of their hands.

  2. Do You Love Your Neighbor?

    Everyone sits on chairs in a circle except for one player. This player must sit on someone’s lap and ask him “ Do you love your neighbor?”. When the answer is ‘Yes’, the player moves to the next player’s lap and continues the question. If the answer is “No”, the following question is asked “So who do you love?”. A possible answer – “People who wear red t-shirts”. Then all the people wearing red t-shirts must exchange seats. Whoever doesn’t get a chair, goes in the middle.

  3. Darling, I Love You, But…

    Everyone sits on chairs in a circle except for one player. This player must sit on someone’s lap, look deep in their eyes and ask “ If you love me, smile!”. The sitting player must answer without laughing “Darling, I love you, but I can’t laugh!”. If the player laughs, they switch places.

  4. Hello, I’m Anton from Ansbach!

    Each player introduces himself with his name, city, birthplace, occupation, names of his parents, etc. However, the name, city, birthplace, occupation, and the names of his parents must all start with the same letter. Player 1 starts with A, the next player must continue with B and so on.

    A variation: The next player must repeat the info of the player before him. In this case, it is recommended to use only names and cities. The player who gets confused, pays a penalty.

  5. Circle around with a String

    Players sit in a circle. Before the game begins, a ring is threaded by the string and the string is tied together at the ends. The players hold this loop of string. Player 1, who is in the middle, must guess who is holding the ring. The players in the circle slide the ring between them, covered by their hands so that player 1 can’t find it.

  6. My Right Place is Empty

    Each player sits on a chair with one chair remaining unoccupied. The person who has this empty chair to his right says: “My right, right place is empty, I wish that Freddy was an monkey and was sitting here”. Freddy must act like a monkey and then move to the empty chair. The play continues now with the player who has the empty chair on his right.

  7. Animal Sounds / Family Screams

    In this game, teams are made. Each group receives a covered card with a symbol (animal, family member). At the signal, everyone looks at the card, and must with the animal sound or cry, find his animal family. The first team to do this wins. The game can be made more difficult by requiring the players to sit in the right order: Grandfather-Grandmother-Father-Mother-first Child-second Child, etc. Showing your card is not allowed. Those players who get animal cards can only use the animal sound as the clue.

  8. Whistle Game

    Everyone sits in a circle. 2 to 4 new players are sent out side the door. The leader has a whistle attached to his belt on his back. When he stands with his back in front of a player, this player must blow the whistle. The players outside are told that a whistle was passed around in the circle and was blown by different players. He must then find out who has the whistle. It is amazing, that so many don’t know this game and take a long time to figure it out. The more inconspicuous the leader is and the more clever the players in the circle blowing the whistle are, will make it more difficult for the player to find the whistle.

  9. Stinky Feet

    All players in the group are blindfolded. All their shoes are taken off and put into one pile. At the signal, everyone must find their own shoes using only their sense of smell or touch.

  10. Rattlesnake 1

    Each of 2 players are tied at the ankle with a string and a few cans. They are then blindfolded and turned around a few times in a circle. They must then find each other as quickly as possible. The rest of the group makes lots of loud noises, yells, etc. to hinder the two players from finding each other.

  11. Rattlesnake 2

    One player out of the circle group will be blindfolded. 2 people in the circle get cans to rattle. They must shake the cans at least 3 times before exchanging places unnoticed.

  12. All Birds Fly High

    All players sit in a circle. One player begins as ‘announcer’. The announcer says: “All birds fly high – sparrows fly high!” As each flying bird is announced, everyone in the group puts their hands up. When birds who cannot fly are announced, the hands remain down (except for the announcers). Whoever raises his hands in this case is then out, or must pay a fine.

  13. Slide Over Cards

    All players sit on chairs in a circle. The players must remember which chair they are sitting on and is given a card which the player takes note of the color and suit of the card (Diamonds, Hearts, Spades or Clubs). The leader mixes the leftover cards and says a color or suit. Those players with this color “slide” over one chair to the right. If someone is already sitting there, he sits on his lap. If there are numerous players sitting on someone’s lap, only the player “on top” is allowed to slide over to the next chair. After everyone slides over, the leader calls out another color to start the next round. The player who slides around the circle to the chair he began with, is the winner.

  14. Newspaper Slaps

    A rolled-up newspaper is used as a slapping stick. Everyone sits in a circle, except one player who sits in the middle and has the newspaper. The leader calls out the name of one of the people in the circle. The player in the middle must “tap” the person named with the newspaper before that person can call out another person’s name.

  1. Word Splits

    Words with numerous syllables are divided by syllable so that each player receives one syllable. Each player says only his syllable. One player (without a syllable) must guess what word is being said by the other players.

  2. Ribbel Dibbel

    Every player receives a number (1,2,3,…). Everyone slaps his thigh, then claps his hands and then snaps his fingers. On each of the following words, the thigh, hands or fingers makes the beat. The first player says “Ribbel Dibbel number 1 calls Ribbel Dibbel number 2”. Then player 2 calls another player. If someone doesn’t keep the rhythm or says the call wrong, he receives a dot (dibble) of Nivea cream on his face. The winner is the person with the fewest ‘dots’ of cream on his face.

  3. President – Vice President

    The first person is named President, the second person is Vice-President. The following players are given numbers. The first player beats in a rhythm with a slap on his thigh, then clap hands, then points with the right hand over the right shoulder (or snap right fingers) and then says his title or number. Next, he points with the other (left) hand over the left shoulder (or snap left fingers), naming the next player by his title or number. That player must repeat the rhythm made by the first player and then name the player after him in line. Whoever gets confused, goes to the end of the line. The other players move up one place and get a new title or number and remember it. The player who has to go to the end of the line 3 times, gets a nick-name, which the other players must remember and use when calling the next player in line.

  4. Memory Lapse

    A volunteer thinks of a color (red, blue,…). He then goes person to person who name a color. If the color is correctly guessed, a glass of water is poured over his head. If a color is named twice, that person also gets a glass of water poured over his head. Instead of colors, other categories can be used such as countries, cities, religions, car manufacturers, movie stars, etc.). Confetti can also be used instead of water.

  5. Change Places

    Variation 1: Everyone sits in a circle. One player does not get a place to sit and so stands in the middle. He calls 2 names. These 2 people must change places before the player in the middle can take one of their places.

    Variation 2: Names of fruit can be used instead of the players names. If someone calls out ‘fruit salad’, then everyone must change places.

    Variation 3: The players making up the circle move to the right or left to fill the empty space before the player in the middle can reach it.

    Variation 4: The person in the middle is blind-folded and calls 2 names. These two must exchange places before the player in the middle can tag one of them. All of the other players must remain quiet.

  6. Personal Traits

    Every player writes his name and 1 to 2 things about himself on a card. The cards are mixed and passed out. Now the players must match the card to the correct player. If the players know each other, the names can be left out and instead, a number (players choice) and then 2 to 4 things can be written on the card. Then the cards and players are matched up. If more than one player has the same items on his card, the correct card will be known by the number that player choose for use instead of his name.

  7. Thigh and Hand Concentration

    Everyone sits in a circle. Each player puts his left hand on the thigh of the player to his left and his right hand on the thigh of the player on his right. One player begins: with one hand he slaps the thigh of the player next to him. This player slaps his neighbors thigh, and so on in a clockwise direction. If a player slaps twice, the direction is changed. If a player slaps too soon or late or not in his turn, he must put the hand that made the mistake behind his back for the duration of the round. If he makes another mistake, he is out of the game.

  8. Who is the murderer?

    Every player receives a card, looks at it and doesn’t tell the others what card he got. The player who receives the king of hearts is the murderer. The murderer blinks at another player who is then out. When a player thinks he knows who the murderer is, he calls out “ I know who the murderer is”. If another player calls out at the same time, both players must say who the murderer is at the same time. If it is the same name, the suspect must say if he really is the murderer or not. If they guess correct, the murderer is out. If even one layer guesses wrong, both are out.

  9. The Killer

    Every player gets a piece of paper with the name of a famous person stuck on their foreheads or on their backs. That player asks questions that can only be answered with yes or no. Variation: Players agree before the start of the game how many times a person can be asked a question.

  10. Who Am I?

    All players get a piece of paper with the name of a famous person written on it. The paper is then stuck on the players foreheads or their backs. P{layers ask each other questions to find out who they are, but the questions can only be answered with yes or no. Variation: a limit of how many times a player can be questioned.

  11. 2 Truths and a Lie

    Each player writes 2 truths and 1 lie on a piece of paper. The other players must guess which are truths and which are lies. This game can be started with one player, continuing in a clock-wise direction.

  12. Who’s the Boss?

    All players sit in a circle. One person is sent out of the room. The rest of the group chooses a leader. The group must repeat everything he does (Clap, blink, shake his head, laugh, slide around on the chair, etc.) without giving away who the leader is. The player who was outside is brought in and must figure out who the leader is. After 3 incorrect guesses he must pay a fine. If he guesses correctly, the leader is then sent outside and a new round begins.

  13. The Gordian Knot

    All players cross their hands and randomly choose other players hands to hold, making a tangle of hands. One person has to untangle the ’knot’.

  14. Story Number 1

    Without the other players seeing, give each player a paper with the name of an object, a name, and a place. Each player then has 2 minutes to tell a story using these names and others. The group must guess what object, name and place were chosen.

  15. Story Number 2

    Each player is told the name of an object, a name and a place. The layer has a maximum of 3 minutes to tell a story using these names. The next person in line must continue the story using the names he was given. An interesting and funny story will be made.

  16. Ha Ha Ha

    All players lie on their backs next to each other. The first person lays his hand on the tummy of the person next to him and laughs one time saying “Ha”. The second person does the same, but instead says “Ha Ha”. The play continues in this fashion. A player is out when he laughs (not in turn), or doesn’t say the right number of Ha’s. When one player is left, he is the winner.

  17. The Moo Cow Game

    Three players are sent outside the room. The rest of the group is told that they must find the loudest cow in the group. As each player comes back in the room, he is told that the winner is the loudest cow. When the first and second players are brought in, on the count of three, they must at the same time make a loud mooing sound. When the third player comes in, the first and second players get ready to moo, but don’t.

  18. Rumors

    The first person has a rumor of 3 to 4 sentences whispered in his ear. Then he whispers this rumor in the next players ear. What is the outcome after all players has gotten the rumor? The game can be played with teams. The first person of each team will be told the rumor outside the room. They then pass it along to their teams. The last person of each team tells the leader the rumor. The team that tells the rumor the most accurately is the winner.

  19. Pantomime

    All players wait outside the door so that they can not see what the player before him does. The first player comes in the room and is told an idea (the name of a thing, place, etc.) and must then, using only pantomime, act out this idea to the next player who comes in the room. The last player names the idea.

  20. Caught in a Circle

    One person goes in the middle of the circle made by the other players who hold hands. The person in the middle must try to break through the circle. If he gets through, the person on the left side of the break goes in the middle next. Variation: After a few failed attempts, the person in the middle can call for reinforcements by choosing another player to help him.

  21. Camp Alphabet

    One player begins: I will take to camp an apple. The next player repeats this sentence and adds another article which begins with the next letter of the alphabet – I will take to camp an apple and a bag. The game continues until a player gets confused, forgets or says the wrong articles.

  22. Number Rows

    Certain numbers are replaced with a word, for example the number 6. All numbers containing the number 6 or are dividable: 1,2,3,4,5,oops,7,8,9,10,11,oops,13,14,15,oops,17,oops,19,20, etc. The winner is the player who can count the highest. Variations: instead of the number 4, say “ping” or by the number 6, say ”pong”.

  23. Changes

    Everyone sits in a circle. One player is sent out of the room. Now a change will be made in the circle. Example: 2 players exchange jackets or places, or 1 player changes his T-shirt so he is wearing it backwards. The player who was out of the room comes in and must guess the changes made to the circle.

  24. Shoe, Shoelace and Speed

    All players take off their shoes and remove the shoelaces from them. All the shoes are put in a pile in the middle of the players circle and are then mixed up. At the signal, all layers must find their shoes, put the shoelaces back in, put their shoes on and then stand up. The winner is the player who stands up and his shoes correctly laced up.

  25. The Laugher

    Everyone sits in a circle. One player is chosen to be the laugher. The other players make sad and gloomy faces. The laugher must make the other players laugh. If he succeeds, that player is then ‘out’. The laugher can ‘wash away’ his own laugh after 1-2 minutes and then choose the next player t be the laugher by making a hand motion to him.

  26. Don’t Answer Yes

    The leader asks various questions. Each question must be answered, but with an answer that has nothing to do with the question. The questions are asked quicker and quicker and the answers must be given within 3 seconds. The leader tries to confuse the group. Example: “How do you like today’s program?” The player answering says: “Today is my birthday!” Then the leader says: “How old are you?” Whoever answers incorrectly must pay a fine or fulfill a prearranged task.

  27. Hands Up

    Al players stand in a circle. The leader says to one person: “Hands up!”. The players on each side of this person must grab his hands and “throw” them up in the air. The player on the left grabs the right hand and the player on the right grabs the left hand of the player chosen. The player must try to keep his hands down. The player who does it wrong, is ‘it’ next.

  28. Clap Hands

    The leader says many numbers. When a number can be divided by 6, all players must clap. If a player makes a mistake, he pays a fine. The leader can confuse the group by clapping at the wrong time. The game is played similar to “Alle Vögel fliegen hoch”.

  29. By the Psychiatrist

    One person is named the psychiatrist and leaves the room. The others think of an illness. It can be from the following:

    • One player is asked a question, but the player on his right begins to cry when a certain word or item is said.
    • Another player pretends he is the Bundeskanzler or President or a player from the German National Soccer Team.
    • Another player pretends he is from another world.
    • The next player sits cross-legged and keeps his hands in his pants pockets.
    • The next player says he thinks he’s a flipper game.

    The “psychiatrist” comes back in the room, asks questions of the players to find out what illness the patient has.

  30. Trip to Jerusalem (Musical Chairs)

    This well-known game is played with a small variation. After each round, a chair is taken away, but no one is ‘out’. This means that there will be fewer chairs to sit on in each round and that the players must share chairs. The play continues until a player can not sit on any chair. Sturdy chairs must be used in order to hold 3-4 players.

  31. Where’s the Ring?

    All players sit in a circle and hold a string that is threaded with a ring. The ends of the string are tied to form a circle. One player is put in the middle and must find the ring. The other players slide the ring between themselves, sometimes faking who is moving the ring to confuse the player who is seeking it.

  32. Gordian Knots

    Players cross their hands and hold other players hands in a mixed up fashion. One player must untangle the “knot”.

  33. What or Who am I?

    Numerous players (or everyone) get a colored carton piece, or a playing card (Hearts, Diamonds, Spades or Clubs) attached to their back. Players must ask each other questions to find out what color or what card is stuck on their backs. Possible rules: You can only ask once or twice about what color it is or what card it is. Answers can only be “Yes” or “No”. You can also use the names of famous people. Whoever guesses his color or card first is the winner.

  34. Drug store game

    All players sit in a circle on a chair. Each player thinks of an item available to buy in a drug store and whispers the item to his neighbour. The game leader now asks a question (for example: „what do you use to clean your teeth? “). The chosen player must answer the question by naming the item whispered by his neighbour. The game is really a bit silly but can become quite funny :).
    The game idea was sent by Lisa H.

  35. Port or starboard

    One player is the captain and the other players are the crew. Should a member of the crew fail to fulfil the task or make a mistake, the player is out of the game (out of the game, pay a deposit, do a forfeit etc.). Here are the instructions:

    • "To the ship" – all players run and stand to the right of the captain
    • "On land" – all players run and stand to the left of the captain
    • "Down on the deck" – all players lie down on their stomachs
    • "Attention on deck" – all players say "Aye, aye Capitan"
    • "Three men in a boat" – all players make groups of three
    • "Scrub the deck" – all players run around circles on their knees
    • "Man over board" – each player looks for a partner. One lies on the ground on their stomach. The other places their foot on his partner’s bottom
    • "Starboard" – all players run to the left side of the boat
    • "Port" - all players run to the right side of the boat
    • "Stern" – all players run to the back
    • "Bow " – all players run to the front
    • "Poorly seagull" – each player sits down and flaps their hands and feet around in the air
    • "Row the boat" – each player looks for a partner. The two players hold hands facing each other and make rowing movements
    • "In the crows nest“ –each player looks for a partner and the lighter of the two jumps onto the back of his partner
  36. Parliament bench (10-30 players)

    This is a game played girls against boys. The girls must try to occupy all parliament seats with girls and the boys try to do the same with boys.

    There must be the same amount of girls as boys, who all sit in a circle and one place must remain empty. Fours seats which are next to each other are specially marked out as the parliament bench. At the beginning of the game two boys and two girls should occupy these seats. Each player writes their name on a piece of paper and throws it into a hat. Each player then takes turn to pull a name out of the hat.

    From now on, each player only reacts to the name shown on his piece of paper! The player sitting to the right of the empty seat now calls out a name. The player whose name is called now stands up and goes and sits on the empty seat then swaps his piece of paper with the player to his right (!). Both players now have a piece of paper with a different name to which they answer. The player sitting to the right of the empty seat can now call out a new name. (It sounds more complicated than it is).

    The game is finished when the parliament bench is occupied by all male or all female players (sounds easier than it is). An idea sent by Stephan S.

...more circle games

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